The Oregon Ducks have been steamrolling teams again this season. They’ll look to keep their momentum going this Saturday when they travel to Boulder to take on the struggling Colorado Buffalos in a Pac 12 matchup.
The line opened with Oregon as 32 ½ point road favorites. But over the course of the week sharps have pulled that back to 30 ½ at most sites. For a number of reasons, consider following the lead of the wiseguys in this game.
For one thing, a road favorite of more than 30 points in a major conference almost two-thirds of the way through the season is unusual and looks badly out of place. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to fade huge road favorites as the season wears on. The reason is that public perception doesn’t evolve with the development of teams. Some teams – like Oregon, for example – make a habit of destroying teams early in the season and this perception carries on for the whole year. But in reality, teams that are already playing well in early September don’t really have much room for growth. They’re as good as they’re going to be, for the most part. But other teams – like Colorado – start the season slowly and have a much higher ceiling in terms of potential growth. So when these teams meet in late October, past performance along with public perception equals a very large spread. But in all likelihood, the development of the two teams throughout the season gives the Buffies some value in this game.
Also keep in mind that this will be Oregon’s second true road game of the season. In week 1 they lost to LSU on a neutral field; granted, it was in Texas, but it wasn’t a true road game. The only true road game before this game was at Arizona almost a month ago. The Ducks covered the spread but they let the Wildcats hang 31 points on the defense, which is a little reason for concern.
On the other hand, Colorado has played just two home games. They beat Colorado State in their rivalry game by two touchdowns on a neutral field. In true home games, the Buffalos lost to California by 3 in overtime and to Washington St. by 4 in a game they should’ve won. The point is that Colorado is considerably better at home, and part of the reason the public sees them as being so terrible is they haven’t played many home games. That, and in all honesty, Colorado isn’t a good football team. But they aren’t awful at home.
Injuries could be a factor as well. For Oregon, both LaMichael James and Darron Thomas are uncertain for the game. James dislocated his elbow against California on October 6 so I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets held out of this game. They should have no trouble winning and there’s no reason risking James’ health for the rest of the season. Thomas hurt his left knee in last week’s game against ASU and wasn’t able to finish the game. He says that he expects to play but Chip Kelly has been non-committal regarding this week’s starting quarterback. If Thomas can’t go, redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett will step in. Here again, I don’t see Chip Kelly risking the health of his star players in order to impress voters with an overly lopsided score.
The Buffs have injuries too, though. Top tackler Douglas Rippy, running back Rodney Stewart, and wide receiver Paul Richardson are all expected to miss this game. However, quarterback Tyler Hansen has played well this year. He’s thrown 13 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions, despite getting sacked 19 times – the most in the Pac 12.
The wiseguys have already moved this line 2 points off the opening away from the heavy favorite. And still, 30 ½ points on the road, in conference, in late October seems like a lot. Consider joining the sharps and backing a huge home underdog and dont forget about picking up this weeks winning college football picks from the experts. Good luck!